During the current worldwide pandemic, movie studios are no longer providing box-office figures because theaters have been shut down around the nation and the world. Because we are less interested in the actual figures themselves and more interested in what people are watching over the weekends, each week we will dive into Most Streamed and Bestseller Lists on Fandango, iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu to pinpoint the weekend’s most watched films.
Movie theaters around the country are starting to re-open, but there still hasn’t been much by way of new movies being released theatrically, although last weekend, Unsubscribe, a 29-minute horror movie shot entirely on video-conferencing app Zoom, managed to top the conventional box office with a $25,000 haul, knocking Wretched — which had been the number one film for several weeks, based on drive-in theater grosses — off the top spot.
During the pandemic, several studios have decided to skip theaters and release their films straight to VOD. It’s been a success for family films like Scoob! and Trolls World Tour and appears to have been a success for Judd Apatow’s Pete Davidson film, King of Staten Island, which holds the top spot again this weekend on Fandango’s VOD chart, iTunes, and Amazon. Unfortunately, we still don’t have actual figures, but it appears to be shaping up as a big success for Universal.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has been good for some films that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten much attention. Take for instance, Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried’s You Should Have Left. The Blumhouse Pic was also expected to be released into theaters, but I don’t think there was a huge appetite for it there. In any other time, Universal’s decision to release it digitally would have looked like they were “dumping it,” but during a pandemic, it’s the second most popular new film on both Fandango and iTunes this weekend, even with a $20 rental fee. The film is getting only mixed reviews (46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but home moviegoers are clearly starved for new entertainment right now.
It’s clear how starved moviegoers are because, beyond King of Staten Island and You Should Have Left, it’s the usual array of films among the top digital rentals: The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc. Nicole Beharie’s new release, Miss Juneteenth (99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes!), seems to be doing okay, as well.
There are also some fascinating old movies bubbling up right now on iTunes: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando, Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai, Twister, and even Ryan Reynolds’ horrible film, R.I.P.D., is ranking, too. It’s weird what we turn to for comfort.
Disney+ and HBO Max do not offer charts, but it’s fair to say that the disastrous Artemis Fowl is doing well on Disney, and that the most Dad movie of the last year Ford vs. Ferrari, is doing well on HBO Max, where it was released for Father’s Day.
Meanwhile, over on Netflix, the top five is a strange assortment of films. The top film this weekend is a movie that’s been hanging around in the top five for a couple of weeks, 365 Days (365 Dni), the Polish erotic drama that apparently makes 50 Shades of Grey look tame by comparison. While the top film is Polish, the number two film is the French film, The Lost Bullet, which has no reviews on RT and very little information from which to glean its plot. I have no clue how it managed to rise to number two. Number three is the Netflix original, Feel the Beat, a dance film starring Sofia Carson, which looks cute but insubstantial. Magnetic, a 2018 documentary film about what appears to be extreme surfing is the fourth most popular film of the weekend, followed by the 2014 family film, The Nut Job. Meanwhile, last week’s top film, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, has fallen to number six.